January 1, 2010

January 1st, 2010

Happy New Year from the Fisk family! Since my last post, we’ve added another person to the family. Baby boy Fisk, or Jackson Scott, was born November 12th. His arrival has made me wonder if I should recreate this blog, and if so, how. It’s certainly grown beyond an adoption blog. The “Our Journey to Kazakhstan” part of the title is no longer appropriate. — although, to give Scott credit, he did include “. . . and back.” And, boy, a lot has happened since we’ve been “back.”

And a lot has happened since my last July post. On August 16th, Arina started kindergarten and on August 19th, she turned 5 years old. It’s hard to imagine a child who loves school more than Arina. She insists on being at school at 7:00am so that she can eat breakfast with George and friends. At first, we didn’t know about her little breakfast club. We only knew that she liked getting to school early and that money was draining way too quickly from the automatic draft system we set up for her lunch money. Upon further investigation, we discovered that she was eating a second breakfast every day. — one at home and one at school. The first featured photo is from Arina’s 5 year old birthday dinner at MeMe and PaPa Fisk’s house. In the photo gallery, you’ll find Arina’s “first day of school” shot.

At the end of August, we visited friends Shawn and Amy Reeves in Beaufort, SC. Arina had tons of fun playing with their children, Atticus and Amelia. We spent the weekend strolling through downtown Beaufort — Arina’s favorite stop was a candy store next to a playground — and then we visited historic sites, such as the Chapel of Ease. The next featured photo is of me, very pregnant, at the Chapel of Ease.

We were thinking the baby would arrive before or on Halloween. So, Arina spent Halloween weekend with Mom and Dad and trick-or-treated in McBee, while Scott and I walked the neighborhood, ate spicy food, and tried everything else we could think of to hurry Baby Jack along. I have to admit that I was disappointed when he decided to spend Halloween in utero; I was planning on penciling a lightening bolt onto his forehead and trick-or-treating with him as Harry Potter, “the boy who lived,” on the maternity ward.

He finally made his appearance, with a little prodding (i.e. Pitocin), on November 12th at 3:44pm after 6 1/2 hours of completely drug-free labor (how much of a rock star am I?). He weighed 7 lbs. 8 ozs. and was 20.25 inches long.

A couple of people have expressed interest in the fact that I’m now a mother through both adoption and biology and have asked how the two experiences compare. I’ll admit that, at the moment, I’m very into my boy. I’m on a post-pregnancy high, and although I had a miserable first trimester (b/c of morning sickness) and second trimester (b/c of a never-ending cold), I’ve fantasized about having a second biological child because of him. But, I can remember being similarly into my girl and being on such a post-adoption high that I actually filled out a second application to adopt the November after we got back from Kazakhstan in August! So, my reaction to both experiences was exactly the same.

As for differences, I was definitely more anxious during my pregnancy. I would, for example, have to find the cure for amniotic fluid embolism before a second pregnancy in order to have any peace of mind. And I find that I’m much more anxious about and protective of Jackson’s health; I’ve never worried about Arina’s. After all, Arina spent a year and a half of her life in an orphanage with 100+ kids and has the immune system of a superhero as a result. When she started going to nursery school, she’d bring home germs. — but they’d affect us, not her. She’s only vomited twice since we’ve known her, for goodness sake. Jackson, on the other hand, came home with jaundice and has already been hospitalized (albeit briefly) for RSV. The next featured photo is of sweet baby Jackson seeming vulnerable, although whether he’s really being vulnerable or mad is up for debate.

I suppose the best and most honest response to those who have questioned the adoptive vs. biological child connection is to say that I’m confident I have the kids I’m meant to have, regardless of how they got here, and that I feel incredibly lucky to have had both the adoption and birth experience.

As for Arina, she adores her baby brother. I honestly have not detected an ounce of jealousy. For Christmas, she wrote a letter to Santa for him so that he’d get presents too, and I know that she’ll gladly share this blog with him. And I have to say that he reminds me so much of her, young as he is. He’s tough. — a “pistol,” one nurse said, after receiving various punches and kicks when trying to administer an unwanted breathing treatment. But he’s also incredibly laid back. — he rarely cries (even when sick and/or tired) and practically sleeps through the night at 7 weeks old. So an appropriate final photo, I think, is big sister Arina’s first glimpse at her new baby brother.

Happy New Year Arina and Jack. We love you.

One more thing: I’m going to try to update this blog more often. After Arina’s “birth” into our family, I blogged nearly every day from mid June until early August. I want to try and chronicle Jackson’s first few months in a similar fashion (sadly, I’m already a month behind). I won’t be able to update every day, simply because I don’t have the downtime that I had between orphanage visits in Kazakhstan, but I’m going to make a valiant effort to update once a week.

Part of those updates, though, will include what I call Arina-isms. — funny things that only Arina could come up with. Some examples and early favorites are as follows:

1) Arina responds to the “What does your Mommy do?” question with “She’s a doctor of books.”

2) During my pregnancy, Arina observed, “Wow, Mom. You tell me what to do and Daddy what to do, and we do it! You’re like a queen!”

3) My favorite Arina-prayer before dinner: “Dear God. Thank you for our food. It looks tasty. I wish we could eat it. But we can’t. Because we’re praying.”

4) My favorite Arina-bedtime prayer, after she was told that she needs to pray to God, not Santa: “Dear God, please tell Santa . . .”

5) Arina complained that she had bitten her nail to the quick. I said, “I told you not to bite your nails.” She said, “Sorry, Mom. My ears just shrink sometimes.”

6) I complained about a headache. Arina said, “I have a lot of headaches, because of all the ideas I have in there.” Scott responded, “Your ideas make my head hurt too, Arina.”

7) Arina’s response to Uncle Tom giving Jack a Christmas present: “Wow! That’s great, Uncle Tom! I didn’t know you liked my baby brother!”

July 2009

July 26th, 2009

Another Adoption Day has come and gone, and I have a lot of catching up to do. — something that will be difficult, since we seem to be missing a regrettable amount of photos from October 2008 to July 2009. I don’t know if this is because we neglected to take photos or because we’ve misplaced them. Suffice it to say, though, that we did in fact celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas 2008, regardless of whether or not we have the evidence.

We do have a few more photos from October, to go along with the Disney photos we posted in the last gallery. Below: A photo of Arina as a Halloween fairy and of the Fisk family at Scott’s 10 year Citadel reunion.


Now, we’ll skip ahead to Easter 2009. In the featured photo, the Fisk family (Scott, Nicole, Arina, and baby boy Fisk) stand in front of MeMe and PaPa Fisk’s house.


Because I’m only a couple of months pregnant in this photo, baby boy Fisk isn’t very visible. A little about him, though: We weren’t expecting to have a biological child. We had actually filled out the paperwork for Adoption #2, when Scott got the opportunity to fulfill one of his life’s goals: buying an investment property, renovating it, and renting it. And there went our adoption money!

So, we had to reevaluate the baby plan. Before adopting Arina, we had tried to conceive for a short period of time. Not being very patient, we decided that if we weren’t pregnant by October 2006, we’d adopt. When we returned from Kazakhstan, we went to a fertility specialist, just to see what our options were for Baby #2. Although we preferred adoption after our life-changing experience, we knew that our pocketbooks needed to recover.

For those of you who understand infertility speak, we learned that we have male factor infertility with 2 million sperm/ml and 1% normal sperm morphology. But, apparently, male factor infertility + above average female fertility = candidates for natural cycle in vitro fertilization. Basically, I didn’t have to take any fertility drugs. I just made a trip to Dominion Fertility Clinic in Virginia and underwent two simple in-office procedures. A wonderful doctor, by the name of Dr. DiMattina, retrieved the egg I ovulated the month of February, fertilized it with Scott’s sperm, and implanted it in my uterus for a few thousand dollars, all of which was covered by our fabulous insurance plan. The result: baby boy Fisk, who is due November 10, 2009.

And what does Arina think about being a big sister? When she thinks about it, she’s excited. As would be the case with most 4-year-olds, though, she doesn’t think about it that often. Instead, her days are full of playing with her friends (favorites include next-door neighbor Ethan, and nursery school friends Gregory and Tucker); creating works of art (when I “accidentally” threw one of these away, she said, “Mommy, what did you do?!”); and playing pretend (her favorite, and our least favorite pretend game, is when she plays “dog” or “kitty” and crawls on all fours).

And what do I think of being a pregnant Mommy? I’m not too keen on it, probably because I spent 2 1/2 months of it vomiting. I overheard Arina playing “pregnant Barbie” in the bathtub one night. Pregnant Barbie (aka Arina) said, “This baby is making me sick! Bleh!” — a perfect illustration of this experience for me. Add to that, of course, the fact that I’m a 19th-century British literature specialist and am constantly reading about women who die in childbirth, and you’ll have a pretty full picture of me as the nauseated bundle of anxiety that I am.  

I know that once baby boy Fisk is here, I’ll be grateful for the pregnancy experience, since he couldn’t have gotten here any other way. But, I think most people are nostaligic for that first experience, because that’s what is familiar and comfortable. And, for us, that’s adoption. If there is a Baby #3, she’ll get here via the adoption route. (“She” because Arina wants a sister. — I think because of a cute set of girly bunk beds she saw at a baby furniture store).

As for Arina, she’ll be five-years-old on August 19, so she’ll be starting kindergarten this year. — hard to believe. Because Adoption Day 2009 fell on a weekend, we decided to celebrate in Myrtle Beach. The featured photo is Mommy and Arina on the carosel at Broadway at the Beach. The matching zebras were her idea. Happy Adoption Month, Arina. We love you!

October 2008

October 12th, 2008

Arina turned 4-years-old (hard to believe, I know) on August 19th. We had a birthday party for her here, complete with a SpongeBob SquarePants cake from Nana and a homemade cake from Nat, baked and sent, priority mail, from California! Arina had a great time with her cousins Marley and Parker from Charleston, her next door neighbors Ethan and Hannah, her friend from Malutka-Baby-House-days Dawson, and, of course, many of her favorite grown-up friends: “aunts” Tracy and Rachel, world’s best baby-sitter Sarah and entourage, and the Goffs (Jill, Dave, and Baby Gavin). The kids spent most of the day in the swimming pool, only getting out to take a few bites or to open (or to help open) Arina’s many birthday presents. Bad parents that we are, Scott and I hardly took any photos! — Scott got some video, I think, but who knows when that will be up. We do have one featured photo, though, of the birthday girl in full Kazakh regalia!

For a late summer vacation (does Oct. 2-5 count as a late summer vacation?), Nana and Pop decided to take Arina to Disney World. They graciously offerred to let me and Scott tag along :). The only stipulation was that Arina had to stay in their room, rather than ours, which was fine with us! — we wanted to watch the VP debate Thursday night anyway.

Because the trip had to be a short one, we only went to the Magic Kingdom. But we had a magical time in the park both Friday and Saturday. Arina’s still young enough to think that she *really* met the Disney princesses. The only problem was that she thought the scary rides were real too. I had forgotten that there’s a scary moment on the jungle cruise: the tour guide shouts “GET DOWN” when she has to shoot at the hippos to keep them from capsizing the boat. Arina was literally “getting down,” and when the ride was over, she said, “Whew. That was a close one.”

The featured photo from Friday has to be one with Cinderella’s Castle in the background, since that was the first thing Arina noticed. (She was only sure that she was at Disney World when she was able to see the castle. Scott had teased the poor baby earlier, saying “Yay! We’re at Disney World!” when we stopped at our first rest stop.)


On Friday, Arina got to go to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for a full princess make-over (thanks, Mom and Dad). Of all the beautiful princess dresses and fairy ensembles from which she had to choose, Arina chose the half-shirt and fish tale. — although, really, who doesn’t want to be a mermaid? After having her hair, make-up, and nails done by a fairy-godmother-in-training, Arina got to eat a late lunch in Cinderella’s castle. All the princesses were there except for Ariel, who we were able to visit in her grotto after lunch.

A fun time was had by all. Arina was sad to leave “Dizzy Ward,” as she pronounced it, but hopes to return soon to see all the princesses again, including “Sweeping Booty.” Visit the gallery for more photos than you probably wanted to see.


July 2008

July 13th, 2008

The Fisk family celebrated Arina’s second adoption day, or her “A” day as she likes to call it, on July 10, 2008. We had a great time at Chuck E. Cheese, and then we went to Target and let Arina pick out a toy. She told us that she wanted “hairies” for her A-day, and, eventually, we understood that she wanted fairies. Dragons and fairies. That’s our fantasy-loving girl.

The past three months have been eventful. In April, Arina attended her cousin Jill’s wedding. The reception was outside . . . at Nana and Pop’s house! So, Arina was very excited, especially to see an outside tent and dance floor in Nana and Pop’s yard. Also in April, Arina was a bumblebee in the USC Dance Conservatory’s production of “Young Girls in Europe.” We were unsure about how much Arina was enjoying her dance classes, but she definitely enjoyed performing at the Koger Center. During the scene when the bumblebees were supposed to hold hands while dancing in a circle and shaking their bottoms, Arina broke away from the circle, faced the audience and entertained us all with a full body shake!

In May, Arina attended her “Aunt” Tracy’s graduation (yay for Dr. Bealer!) and visited Dr. Feldman and Peter in Kiawah. One of the highlights of our fabulous beach weekend was a trip to a quaint market/petting zoo between John’s Island and Kiawah Island. Arina loved all of the farm animals, but she especially took to the rabbits and kittens.

Unfortunately, Arina was feeling under-the-weather by the end of the weekend. And, unfortunately, Dr. Feldman, Peter, Scott, and I all felt under-the-weather once she started feeling better. So, our thanks to Dr. Feldman and Peter for sharing beautiful Kiawah with us and our apologies for what Arina shared with them.


June was an especially fun month, because Todd and Brittany Kennedy visited from New Orleans and “Aunt” Nat visited from L.A. Also in June, we all attended Mom and Dad’s annual summer picnic. We celebrated Father’s Day in Charleston and the Goodin-Thomas wedding (friends J.D. and Carrie) in Greenville. At the wedding, Arina made friends with Carrie’s nephews, one of whom was the ring-bearer, and danced the night away. I wish we had photos, but Scott was too busy video-taping and I was too busy eating food and drinking margaritas.

This past weekend, we were in Charleston for Marley’s 6th birthday party. We were especially excited to hear that Susan, Steve, and Lauren were flying in from Texas for the big event. So, Saturday was a full day with a birthday party at Wannamaker Park and a family dinner at Michelangelo’s. The three girls (Arina, Lauren, and Marley) always have a great time together and love each other so much that there are sometimes arguments about seating arrangements (they all want to sit beside each other). A Father’s Day squabble about this reduced Marley to tears, and as Arina walked with Scott to the bathroom, she shook her head, sighed, and said, “All that drama.” Lots of pictures of the girls are featured in the July 2008 photo album, thanks to Susan! (There are also pictures of super cute fourth cousin, Baby Parker, who manages to stay away from all the girl drama).


Arina had lots of early “Adoption Day” (and birthday!) presents, such as tickets to see Disney on Ice in April and . . . a new above-ground swimming pool! Nana and Pop couldn’t resist getting Arina a pool after seeing her swim at Uncle Amos’s and Amanda’s house. Arina would cannonball from the landing into the middle of the pool, after yelling, “Watch out guys! Here me come!” It looks like we’ll be having a pool party next month!


Scott Writes A Post!

April 5th, 2008

So, we’ve been insanely busy. Nicole is taking two night classes, and I’m taking two myself. I know what you’re thinking. Dr. Fisk has a PhD, so why would she need more classes? Turns out she doesn’t know everything. (I v’e been telling her this for years). So, she has to go to class a bit more to make herself a better teacher. That being said, we haven’t updated the web site in a while. In fact, I don’t know where to begin, since so much has happened.

I finished a new video (only 2 yrs late!) Nicole and I went to New Orleans, so that she could present a paper at a scholarly conference. While we were there, we stayed with Todd and Brittany. We had a great time! They showed us around New Orleans, while Arina stayed with her Nana and Pop.

For spring break this year, we went to visit Susan, Steve, and Lauren out in Texas with my parents. Arina is an excellent traveler. Along the way, we went by the casino in Tunica, Mississippi and the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. The Crater of Diamonds State Park is the only diamond mine in the world that is open to the public. So, if you find a diamond, you get to keep it! Below is a picture of us before we struck it rich . . . well we thought this would be the picture before we struck it rich.

The mine wasn’t what you would think. It is a large open field that has been churned up, and you can either walk along the rows looking for diamonds on the surface or dig and filter the dirt through a screen. Arina loved it, because she had a huge open field of dirt in which to play. She would follow her “MeMe” around with her little shovel and say “uh, this a dy-mon?” We, unfortunately, didn’t find any diamonds, but we did get to see one that a lady found while we were there (Nicole’s friends swear that she was a plant). The yellow diamond was beautiful and probably about a carat uncut.

Arina thought she struck it rich. She found a half-buried rubber iguana that she named “dragon toy.” It made her day.

Next, we went to see Susan, Steve and Lauren. Arina and Lauren had a great time playing together. They played “squirt squirt” (a game comprised of squirting things with a spray water bottle), dyed Easter eggs, blew bubbles, watched movies, and went to an arcade.

There are lots of photos of the girls hunting eggs in the gallery. The best moment of the Easter-egg-hunting day: When Arina saw that the plastic eggs had “prizes” in them, she got so excited that she grabbed a real egg and pulled it cleanly in half. Uncooked egg yoke spilled out on Susan’s deck. We all laughed, but Arina was sulky and said: “It not funny.”

After we got home, we celebrated Easter with Nicole’s family. We had another Easter egg hunt in Jefferson, but I was so busy pushing Arina on the swing that I didn’t get to take many pictures. Nicole’s parents came to Columbia for Easter, so Arina thought it was fun for Nana and Pop to visit her church (see family photo in front of the tulips below).

Next up? Arina will be a bumblebee in the Koger Center’s production of “Young Girls in Paris.” Cant’ wait! More photos to follow after the big performance!

December 2007

January 6th, 2008

Arina’s second Christmas in the States has come and gone! She definitely knew more of what was going on this year than the last. Telling her to be a good girl for Santa Claus worked wonders. My parents have a friend who is tall with a long white beard, and when Arina saw him, she ran up to him and said, “I been good!” 

We spent Christmas Eve, and a few days before, in McBee. This particular day wasn’t the best weather-wise, as it had been raining, but it was warm enough for Arina to go outside without a jacket and to jump into puddles. The jumping into puddles part, however, made it the “best day ever.”

As always, we went to MaMa Shirley’s house on Christmas Eve. Arina is wearing the “puddle clothes,” after they have been washed and dried, of course, and is posing in front of MaMa’s Christmas tree, which she probably helped decorate. She helped decorate the trees in McBee, rather than in Columbia, because her MaMa and Nana have much more patience than her Mommy. I decorated the house in Columbia while the baby was away.

We woke up Christmas morning in McBee and then drove to Charleston to spend the evening and a couple of days after Christmas with the Fisks. Arina had a great time with her cousins, Marley and Parker. She followed Marley around everywhere, calling her “Marmey,” instead of “Marley.” (We’re having a bit of trouble with our “L” sound, but it’s very cute.)

Visit the gallery for the rest of the holiday photos and happy 2008!

P.S. We did celebrate Thanksgiving this year, but, unfortunately, Scott forgot his camara. Arina is a huge fan of cranberries, though.

October-November 2007

November 11th, 2007

On October 13th, Arina was reunited with a little girl from Malutka Baby House. Tom and Linda Adcox brought their little girl Stephanie, who is about a year younger than Arina, to visit. They’re from North Carolina. Interestingly, Arina and Stephanie were part of a group of three little ones who were shown to Tom and Linda when they were in Karaganda, about a month before Scott and I left the States. They said that Arina would have nothing to do with them, that she cried the entire time, whereas Stephanie only had eyes for Linda. This confirms the theory that many adoptive parents have: the children choose the parents, rather than the other way around. Below: Arina and Stephanie, reunited.

The following day we went to the South Carolina State Fair, and Arina had a ball. The first thing she wanted to do was ride a roller coaster — The Dragon. All of the other kids looked to be around five or six years old, and she was barely tall enough. The man in charge let us on, with the stipulation that I ride with her, of course. She looks terrified in the photos, but as soon as the ride was over, she raised her arms and said “again!” (We realized afterward that it probably wasn’t smart for us to let her ride a roller coaster immediately after she ate — fried mushrooms and italian sausage, no less — but she managed to keep her food down).

Her next ride of choice was the much less exciting kiddie train. She wasn’t impressed and asked to ride another roller coaster. The second roller coaster, The Dragon Wagon, was a bit tamer than The Dragon, so she rode this one by herself. We were very proud. There was another, older girl who was crying and screaming the entire time, but Arina’s confidence wasn’t phased a bit. Below: Fisk family at the Fair.

Other events this month have included Vena Catoe’s birthday party. Arina loves the skating rink, but she must have been going too fast, because all of Scott’s photos are blurry.

Halloween was a big event this year. We started asking Arina what she wanted to dress up as months in advance, and the answer was always the same — “Squeak, squeak.” Yes, she still calls most animals by the sound they make rather than their name. We’re working on that. So, Arina was a mouse, both at her pre-school and for Halloween. I was under the weather, so Scott was in charge. He took her to a Halloween festival and to a trunk-or-treat. (For those of you who have never heard of trunk-or-treats: people decorate their car trunks (with spider webs and such) and fill them with candy). Scott didn’t have time to decorate, so he put Arina in the trunk with a flashlight and let her jump out to scare people, and then hand out candy. She LOVED this — better than trick-or-treating herself, actually. Below: Arina and her friend, Ford, participate in a Halloween activity.

October 2007

October 11th, 2007

So, the only thing about blogging is that I feel like I need to record every cute thing Arina does, lest I forget. She’s still very affectionate and talks all the time now, though she has a tendency to leave words out when she’s in a hurry. Rather than saying, “I love you,” she says “I you, Mommy” or “I you, Daddy.” Of especial cuteness was her phone conversation with Dad a few nights ago. Scott and I could only hear her end of the conversation, which was “I you, Pop. Ever, ever, ever.”

Visit the gallery for some pictures of Arina swimming — in October, no less. On a particularly warm day, she came downstairs in her bathing suit, and Scott decided to entertain the whim. When she complained about the water being cold, he — sweet father that he is — filled up a bucket of warm water from the bathtub and dumped it in the pool.

Below: One of my latest favorites. I like the pageboy hat, and Arina’s slightly lopsided grin. Her doctor suspects that she was delivered with forceps, which damaged the muscle on one side of her mouth. I love such “clues” about her birth and life before we knew her.

August 2007

September 22nd, 2007

I know it’s inexcusable to have gone so long without updating the web site. August was perhaps the busiest month so far, though. Arina vacationed in Hilton Head with Mommy, Daddy, Nana, and Pop. She and Pop had perfected sandcastle building by the end of the trip.

August was the month of parties. Arina hosted Nat’s graduation party and Jordan’s birthday party. Nat and Jordan should have gotten all of the presents, of course, but whenever Mrs. Leppard is involved, Arina gets presents too. Arina was so thrilled to get her first real princess dress that she stripped in front of everyone in her hurry to try it on. 

Then, she turned three-years-old, and — appropriately enough — had three birthday celebrations (one in Charleston, one in Columbia, and one in McBee). We went to Charleston the week before her birthday, so that she and her Daddy could celebrate a joint birthday (Scott turned thirty-one on August 3rd). Marly helped make the cakes and did a fantastic job. Arina especially liked the sprinkles on hers. The following Wednesday, she celebrated her birthday with Aunts DC and Nat and Uncle Joel. Nat surprised us all with the most spectacular “tur-tle” cake that has ever been baked. Yes, that is blue jello water and candy fish. And, yes, it was yummy.

Another highlight of the Columbia birthday party was a pinata — Joel’s idea. We told Arina that there was candy inside the pinata and gave her a bat, and she knew exactly what to do.


Funny story of the month: Arina and I were walking on the USC campus, and I asked her to hold my hand before crossing the street. She said, “Hand, dirty, mine,” and she was right. It looked like she had rubbed her hand against the car tire. But, Star Wars geek that I am, I said — somewhat distractedly — “My hands are dirty too. What are you afraid of?” She looked up at me and said — quite simply — “dragons.”

July 10, 2007

July 12th, 2007

What a busy month!  Since my last post, Arina had a zoo day with the Fisk family (MeMe, PaPa, Aunt Kelly, Marley, and Baby Parker), a weekend reunion at Myrtle Beach with her friends from Kazakhstan (Miss Kathy, Miss Jean, and Owen; Garrett, DeeDee, and Dawson), a Fourth of July get-together with her Columbia “aunties” (DC, Nat, and Ra Ra), and a fantastic “A” Day (short for Adoption Day) at Chuck E Cheese.

June 22nd at Myrtle Beach: We got a full morning of playing at the beach, before meeting up for lunch with Kathy, Jean, and Owen.  Arina wasn’t too sure about playing in the waves at first, but she adored playing in the sand, so we inched her closer and closer, under pretense of getting water for the sand castle.  Soon she was riding the waves like a pro and “pretend” swimming from Mommy to Daddy, and vice versa.  She also enjoyed the lazy river at our hotel.  She and Scott went down a waterslide, but Scott forgot to cover her eyes, so she refused to go again.  She’d say, “Water, eyes, no.”  We’re working on articles and prepositions.

Friday night, we met Jean, Kathy, Garrett, DeeDee, and the kids for seafood.  Look at how much they’ve grown!  Unbelievable.

The Fourth of July wasn’t the biggest hit with Arina, because the “BOOM, BOOM, BOOM” of the fireworks scared her.  We managed to get her to hold a sparkler, but that was as good as it got for the Fourth.  Nat made a fantastic dinner, though, and brought sidewalk chalk, which was a hit.

July 10th marked the year anniversary of our court date in Kazakhstan — when we officially became a family.  We celebrated by going to Chuck E Cheese, which Arina loved, and watching videos from our days at Malutka Baby House, which Arina loved more.  She would look at herself and say, “Baby Rina!  Teeny tiny!  Cute!”  So modest! 

Stay tuned for the next post: Arina’s 3rd birthday is August 19th, so I’ll post again sometime in late August!